Ministry that’s not ministry
So from Friday to Wednesday, Anne, Ali, Jess H, Teddy (Daniel), Dawesy (Matt D) and I (Steeley) along with Matt Stanely and Trin, were in RakiRaki in the nort of Viti Levu.
From the very beginning we didn't know what to expect, there was a new Tullah-Tullah (Minister) for the fourth year running, except this time Trin knew him from an earlier visit to Fiji! Nonetheless, we didn't particulalry know what we'd be doing except that we'd be going along with the minitser, Ganesh, doing whatever he did, and staying with him - all eight of our crew, with all six of his.
We arrived on Friday and found out that because we'd come he'd cancelled a Bible study. For most of us we found this a bit weird because we thought we'd be in town for the purpose of going to the Bible study's or churches or school's or any of this sort of stuff, that we might be able to 'do' a whole bunch of ministry 'stuff'. This was kind of frustrating, especially when Saturday rolled by and we spent it in the shade of a Mango tree relaxing and playing cards with the family.
Wrong! The reason we are in Fiji is so that we can talk to people, build relationships, encourage Christians in their walk with God, and build on foundations built by previous years, that future Year 13ers might then be able to build on what we have done here this year. It's all about relationships and THAT is something that the RakiRaki crew aced. It's all about experiencing what life is like for the Fijians, doing what they do, eating what they eat, seeing what they see, and that's what we did!
And so whilst we didn't 'do' a whole bunch of 'ministry', we did! We are constantly in ministry, it just takes different forms, for us it was building relationships with Ganesh and his family.
This was tough for some of us, as we were part of a family not our own. It's now been more than three weeks since any of us have seen our families and that was hard, but it was good, because we are learning to trust in God's plan, and for us that means at the moment being away from our families.
God's plan made us all laugh at various stages during the week, as a whole bunch of plans fell through and we ended up doing other things. But it made me, and I think the others too, realise that God's plan ALWAYS wins, God IS in control, and everything He does is for a reason, whether we understand it or not.
Overall, our stay at RakiRaki was enjoyable, if cramped, and a great blessing to us that we could experience Fijian life, as well as join in the minitries of the church in RakiRaki. We DID end up going to a school, telling some kids about Jesus, and moving their library for them, as well as visiting a Fijian hospital and praying for the patients. But for us, homestay's were about building relationships and seeking to encourage one family in their faith, their love, and their service of God in RakiRaki.
For those that pray:
- Praise God for Ganesh and Zillah (his wife), and their kids, the twins - Diana and Daisy, Natasha, and Nathaniel. Pray for their ministry in RakiRaki, that it might flourish and grow, and that Ganesh might continue to be prominent in the community. Pray that our visit blessed them, and that the relationships built would last and affect Ganesh, and his family's lives.
- Praise God for the opportunity for all the Year 13ers to go to different homestays and experience different things.
- Praise God that he created (more than) two vastly different cultures, but that His gospel is in, and is affecting, both. Pray the Year 13ers might proclaim it faithfully.
- Pray that we might be able to process all of our different experiences and do so effectively.